FAA Gets an Earful from NTSB on Helo Recorders

 - January 8, 2007, 9:24 AM

The NTSB last week issued a scathing report highly critical of both the FAA and the transport-helicopter industry for not embracing flight-data recorders. The Safety Board criticized the FAA for its lack of enforcement of Part 135 helicopter FDR requirements that have been on the books since 1988, the wording of those and subsequent requirements (based on “seating configuration” not certified seating) that enable operators to avoid compliance by removing seats and for granting numerous requests for exemptions from helicopter operators. The NTSB believes the need for FDR information during accident investigations is “perhaps even greater for helicopters than it is for airplanes.” Since Oct. 11, 1991, the Safety Board has investigated 176 accidents involving transport helicopters and found only one in which an FDR was installed–and that was on a non-U.S.-registered helicopter. The NTSB has asked the FAA to require all Part 91 and 135 transport helicopters to be equipped with a CVR and an FDR.